A grant of £5,000 has been awarded to a charity that supports the Wildlife Park to install solar power.

Loganair, the UK’s largest regional airline, awarded the grant to the Supporters of Curraghs Wildlife Park (SCWP), a leading local visitor attraction and animal conservation facility, as part of its GreenSkies Community Fund.

The fund aims to develop renewable energy projects and help like-minded organisations on their journey to carbon neutrality.

Solar power will be installed in the park’s ‘Discovery Hut’.

The technology will provide light and heat for the hut, which features themed displays about nature, using a mix of real and replica items plus educational quizzes.

It’s supported by knowledgeable volunteers.

It will also facilitate the use of IT to research and respond to queries from visitors.

The SCWP is also hoping to fundraise to install solar panels in the Wildlife Park’s animal enclosures to further reduce its carbon footprint and reduce energy bills.

As members of the British and Irish (and European) Associations of Zoos and Aquaria, the park works with 400 other zoos to contribute to international breeding programmes for rare and endangered animals.

These animals include red pandas, Humboldt penguins and silvery gibbons.

The park runs educational programmes and activities for schools and visitors and has long encouraged visitors to take a caring and responsible approach to nature.

It has previously introduced measures to limit plastic waste on site, offering water stations for refilling bottles and stocking more sustainably produced items including toys in its gift shop.

Kim Etherton, the chair of SCWP, said: ‘Thanks to the award from Loganair’s GreenSkies Community Fund, SCWP will be installing the first ever solar panels at the Curraghs Wildlife Park.

‘The panels will provide light and heat in the Discovery Hut for the first time, enabling the hut to be open longer, giving visitors more opportunities to learn about nature and conservation, with fascinating replica skulls and other amazing biofacts.

Visitors will also be able to see the solar panels in operation and discover how they help to mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss.

‘SCWP is excited to be able to deliver this project.’

Luke Lovegrove, chief commercial officer at Loganair, added: ‘Many congratulations to the Supporters of Curraghs Wildlife Park on their well-deserved GreenSkies Community Fund grant.

‘The Curraghs Wildlife Park is a fantastic Isle of Man resource, acting as both a visitor destination and playing a crucial role in animal conservation both at home and internationally via its local breeding programmes and funding from its Conservation Fund. ‘We share its green ambitions and are delighted to be able to help its supporters to adopt solar power and reduce the Wildlife Park’s carbon footprint.

‘As an airline which is invested in supporting regional economies and boosting connectivity, we can’t wait to see this project progress over the months to come.’

In total, just over £27,500 was awarded by Loganair’s GreenSkies Community Fund to six organisations across the UK, from a visitor destination focused on glass production in Unst, Shetland, to a museum promoting the New Forest on the south coast.

The latest investment brings the total amount Loganair has granted through the scheme to £57,500.

Loganair’s GreenSkies programme was launched in July 2021 with the introduction of a small mandatory carbon offsetting charge levied on all flights, with the money invested in accredited offsetting schemes.

The airline is involved in a wide range of additional initiatives to manage and mitigate the environmental impact of flying and is the only UK regional carrier participating in the UK Government’s ‘Jet Zero Council’ initiative to decarbonise air travel.